Army Sgt. La David Johnson found bound, may have been executed in Niger: Report
U.S Army Sgt. La David Johnson was found with his arms tied behind his back and a major wound in the back of his head, indicating he may have been captured and executed in Niger last month, The Washington Post reported, citing local villagers.
The Pentagon has released almost no details of Johnson’s death. He was one of four U.S. soldiers and five Niger servicemen killed last month. Johnson’s body wasn’t found for two days after he went missing. It was located a mile from the location of the Oct. 4 attack on a U.S. Army Special Forces team and Niger troops by some 50 militants believed to be affiliated with the so-called Islamic State in the Greater Sahara in the village of Tongo Tongo.
The Post cited local farmer and trader Adamou Boubacar who said in a phone interview that children had found the body of Johnson, 25. He said Johnson’s wrists were bound and he had an injury in the back of the head, possibly from a bullet, the Post reported. Tongo Tongo chief Mounkaila Alassane confirmed Boubacar’s account, according to the Post. Alassane said Johnson was only wearing socks; his shoes were missing.
Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, was told not to view her husband’s body when it was returned to the U.S., advice usually given when a body is badly damaged.
Johnson death was at the heart of a highly controversial condolence phone call from Donald Trump last month to Johnson’s widow. She said the president’s call “made me cry even worse” because Trump said her husband “knew what he signed up for” when he joined the army,” she said on ABC’s “Good Morning America. “I was very angry at the tone in his voice and how he said it.”
Myeshia Johnson also complained that Trump “couldn’t remember my husband’s name,” and referred to Johnson as “your guy,” which Trump denied.
Niger villagers told the Post that they also saw the bodies of U.S. Staff Sgts. Bryan Black, Jeremiah Johnson and Dustin Wright, dressed in T-shirts and boxer shorts, though it wasn’t known when their clothing may have been removed. The Pentagon said they were killed in action and they were found within hours of the firefight. One body was found in a truck, the others were nearby, according to the Post.
Other details of the confrontation remain hazy. The Pentagon and the FBI are continuing to investigate.
There was no immediate word from the Pentagon or the White House about the Post’s story. One U.S. official told the Post: “When the Americans received Johnson his hands were not tied.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.